23 Jun 2014

Dairy farmers converge on Invercargill

2:04 pm on 23 June 2014

Dairy farmers from around the South Island have converged on Invercargill for the annual South Island Dairy Event or SIDE.

The event opened on Monday and will run for three days.

The theme is Riding the Wave, a reference to the lows, as well as highs in the industry.

Chair of the organising committee Paul Marshall said dairying was on the crest of a wave at the moment and it was important for farmers to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to keep their businesses resilient.

"After most crests come troughs and the issue for most businesses is how do we continue to thrive when the pressure comes on and the payout drops. And certainly we've seen something of a drop in the forecast payout for 2014-15."

He said a number of keynote speakers, including the Chief Executive of Fonterra, Theo Spiering will give farmers an in-depth perspective on the industry.

"People think it is a business about cows, well it's a business about people".

He said the keynote speakers offer the structure of the conference.

"There's pretty much something for everyone there".

Mr Marshall said they have brought back Business-Side to the event, with its focus away from hands-on farming.

"For those who are more focussed on the business of dairy and this year the programme is based around risk and reward because we live in uncertain times. Dairying has come in for a bit of stick about the risk it presents to the environment."

He says there are real opportunities within that risk profile for those businesses that are nimble and can adjust and adapt.

"There are huge opportunities and we will explore some of those in Business Side".